Ina Fried

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Amazon Goes Live With Cloud-Based Music Service; Et Tu, Apple?

Amazon’s long-rumored cloud-based music service went live on Monday night.

The Seattle-based electronic retailer is offering playback both via the Web and from an Android app. Tunes can be bought from Amazon or uploaded from a computer, Amazon said.

“Amazon allows you to securely store your entire digital music collection using Amazon Cloud Drive and play it on any Mac, PC, or Android device using Amazon Cloud Player,” the company said in a question-and-answer page on its Web site. “Any new Amazon MP3 Store purchases can be saved directly to your Amazon Cloud Drive for free. You can also upload your existing music library to Amazon Cloud Drive so you have all your music in one place, accessible from anywhere.”

All accounts are given 5GB of storage to upload content from a computer and users can purchase additional storage for an annual fee, Amazon said. Songs purchased from Amazon don’t count toward that storage limit and those who buy an album from Amazon will automatically get their storage bumped up to 20GB.

At this point, it’s only music that can be played from the cloud, but it appears other types of documents and media can be stored in the cloud, suggesting other media playback could be added down the road.

“Our customers have told us they don’t want to download music to their work computers or phones because they find it hard to move music around to different devices,” said Bill Carr, Amazon’s vice president of movies and music at Amazon, in a statement. “Now, whether at work, home, or on the go, customers can buy music from Amazon MP3, store it in the cloud and play it anywhere.”

With the launch, Amazon has edged out Apple and Google to be first among the large players looking to offer a so-called “locker” for online music, though startups such as tried years ago to offer such a service and Mspot launched one for the iPhone back in December and for Android last May.

The browser-based service works with Internet Explorer 8 or 9 but not with IE6 or IE7, and with Safari, Firefox and Chrome but not Opera, Amazon said.

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First the NSA came for, well, jeez pretty much everybody’s data at this point, and I said nothing because wait how does this joke work

— Parker Higgins via Twitter